Where there are mountains with more than 20" of annual precipitation, one can expect to find conifer forests. The cone-producing pines, firs and spruce trees dominate these forests. These evergreen trees, with needle-like waxy leaves, are adapted for a cold, dry, climate with a short growing season. These trees have adapted to an environment that has natural cycles of fire and insect infestation. .
Topography and climate are the 2 factors that most influence the growth of forests. The east, central, and southern parts of the Rockies experience cold, dry conditions, and the northwest portion of the state enjoys a more moist and cool maritime (influenced by the ocean) climate. These conditions influence the plants you can expect to find growing in our montane ecosystem.